The sun has long set on yet another great ICAST/IFTD show! Although I've covered the show several times for TackleTour.com, this year was especially important with the launch of this site just a couple weeks prior. For most of the show my mind is overloaded with the tasks of interviewing reps, taking pictures, posting to social media, and just generally managing my time, but I'm always still partially in "self shopping mode" and looking for gear that interests me for future reviews or simply to buy for myself. What stood out to me this year? Without a doubt, it was the increased number of 5-weight fly rods with fighting butts!
If I remember correctly, I did see a 5-weight Hardy Zephrus SWS at last year's show that was equipped with a fighting butt. Besides the G. Loomis MAX GLX, I wasn't aware of any other 5-weights available in that configuration at the time. As many fly anglers know, most rods with fighting butts start at the 6 or 7-weight size and go up from there. This year that finally changed in a big way! I was elated to discover that in addition to the Hardy and Loomis, these special 5-weight models now exist within the Sage X, Redington Predator, G-Rods Pro Series, EDGE, and Lamiglas G1000 Pro fly rod families.
Why would you want a fighting butt on a 5-weight? This rod size is often simply thought of as a great choice for trout fishing, but it's awesome for so much more. These new rods will be stellar for big trout, carp, bonefish, and many other species. I've caught fish pushing 20-pounds on my 5-weight, and a fighting butt would've been a HUGE help for many of these longer battles. For me, any fish that requires fighting off the reel is more easily fought with the aid of a fighting butt. A 5-weight rod is simply an awesome fishing tool, and in my opinion it just got better. I hope this is the start of something new and more manufacturers take notice!